OSM’s leading retina specialists evaluate each patient and treat with the most effective and beneficial surgical and non-surgical methods to ensure the best outcome to maintain your vision.
Early detection and treatment are key to protect against loss of vision and blindness.
The retina is a layer of tissue in the eye that is responsible for visual messages delivered to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain interprets this information into images. A retinal detachment occurs if the retina pulls away from its supportive tissue. A retinal detachment is often preceded by retinal tears or retinal breaks. If not treated immediately retinal detachments can cause permanent vision loss and blindness. Treatment of retinal tears or breaks can often prevent the progression to a retinal detachment.
Symptoms of retinal tear or detachment can be floaters (specks or spider webs) seen in your field of vision, a drape or curtain over your field of vision, and/or light flashes in the eye.
A retinal tear or detachment is a medical emergency. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see an ophthalmologist promptly. Surgery and/or laser will be required to save your vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue (the retina) that lines the back of the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness among adults and the diabetic population. Learn more.
Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)
Diabetic macular edema is swelling in the center part of the retina (the macula) due to a buildup of fluid caused by unhealthy leaking blood vessels. DME is one of many retinal complications of diabetic retinopathy that can cause devastating loss of vision. Today, there are several treatments for DME including medications injected into the eye and/or laser therapy. The visual outcome of DME is directly related to the promptness of treatment. Learn more.
Macular degeneration is divided into two different categories: Dry Macular Degeneration (DAMD) and Wet Macular Degeneration (WAMD).
Dry Macular Degeneration (DAMD) is a result of damage and thinning of the macula – a small central area of the retina responsible for clear, sharp vision.
Wet Macular Degeneration (WAMD) occurs when the damage to the macula advances and new, unhealthy blood vessels leak fluid or blood into the macula. It is critically important to treat WAMD immediately when it “converts” from DAMD to WAMD. Learn more.
Floaters, Flashes, and Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)
Floaters occur when the vitreous (the clear, gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye) begins to clump and degenerate. While it may seem like the floaters are in front of your eye they are actually inside the eye within the vitreous.
A large floater in the center of the vision is often caused by a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). A PVD occurs when the vitreous gel separates from the retina and starts floating freely inside the eye. PVD is very common among older adults, nearsighted individuals and after Cataract Surgery. When the vitreous gel rubs and pulls on the retina you may see what looks like flashing lights or lightning streaks. These are usually termed flashes.
Posterior vitreous detachment or floaters do not directly threaten vision, but they can lead to a retinal tear or detachment. Anyone seeing flashes or floaters should see the ophthalmologist or retina specialist immediately to ensure that any retinal tears or detachments can be found and treated promptly.
A macular hole occurs when there is a small break in the macula, which is located at the center of the retina. This part of the retina is what provides your sharp central vision that you use for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. Macular holes can cause permanent central vision loss if left untreated.
Symptoms of a Macular Hole
Some symptoms you may experience that may indicate you have a macular hole include:
- Distortion or blurriness in your central vision.
- Straight lines or objects can look bent or wavy.
- Reading and other routine tasks with the affected eye become difficult.
- There may be a blind spot in the middle of the central vision.
Treatment for Macular Hole
In many cases, surgery is necessary to prevent permanent vision loss and improve one’s vision. This procedure is called a Vitrectomy with Membrane peel and Macular Hole repair. This procedure is performed by a retina specialist and is typically done on an outpatient basis. Your doctor will remove the vitreous gel in your retina and replace it with a bubble containing a mixture of air and gas that acts as an internal temporary bandage to repair the hole. After surgery, patients will have to remain face down for up to 1 week. The bubble is slowly reabsorbed by the eye.
Epiretinal membrane (ERM) is very thin scar tissue that forms on the inner surface of the retina. They most often occur in people over the age of 50 with your risk of developing an ERM increasing with age. ERMs can be diagnosed with a routine eye exam and are fairly common as we age.
Symptoms of ERM
If you begin to experience the following symptoms, you should report it to your doctor or eye specialist.
- Decreased or loss of central vision
- Distorted or blurred vision
- Double vision
- Straight lines or objects look wavy
- You have problems reading small print
Similar to a Macular hole, a vitrectomy surgery with membrane peeling may be recommended depending on the severity of the ERM. In many cases, your doctor will watch the ERM and may suggest treatment when there are vision symptoms to help improve your vision.
Retinal Vein Occlusions
A retinal vein occlusion is a serious condition that occurs when there is a blockage of veins that carry blood away from the retina. Fluid and blood can then leak from your blood vessels into the retina, affecting your vision.
Symptoms of a Retinal Vein Occlusion
The symptoms of a retinal vein occlusion can either be very subtle or very obvious and typically do not cause any pain. Symptoms are usually in just one eye and can include:
- Blurring or loss of vision in one eye that worsens over the next few hours or days
- A complete loss of vision in one eye immediately
- A blind spot in one eye
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your retinal specialist will typically perform a test called an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which provides a high-definition image of your retina to determine the presence of swelling and edema. In addition, they may also perform a Fluorescein angiography, where a dye is injected into the vein in your arm and travels to the retinal blood vessels. Special photographs then allow the doctor to see the vessels.
There are a variety of treatment options your doctor may recommend for a retinal vein occlusion to treat the vision problems that have been cause by the blockage. Some of those treatments include VEGF therapy, corticosteroid treatment to combat the inflammation, and a laser therapy to reduce the size of the edema. Following treatment, your doctor will likely require follow up visits to continuously monitor your progress.